Stainless frets after 6000 hours of playing time

57Strat777

TDPRI Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2020
Posts
32
Location
Texas
Why did you have to change the neck?
The OP guitar started out as a 1991 Strat Plus Deluxe that I bought new in 1991. Back in the 90's I came across an Eric Clapton signature neck and swapped the neck when it came time for a refret. I liked the profile of the EC neck better than the stock neck.
 

DanglingNutslots

Tele-Meister
Joined
Jan 5, 2022
Posts
207
Location
Canada
Yeah, you can get a Warmoth standard unfinished Tele/Strat neck (maple or rosewood) with SS frets and Tusq nut for ~$230. Add some Tru oil or spray with a little lacquer and your done (well, you might need to do some fret/nut setup work, too)! But, if I had that "special" guitar, of course I'd probably pay for a re-fret.

But I've got a light touch so I don't wear my frets out anyway. I watched this guy on Youtube several years ago talking about how most people fret way too hard, and he talked about learning to fret with the LEAST pressure possible- this lets you play more relaxed, faster, and cleaner. I have incorporated that idea into my playing, and it makes sense. It also puts less strain on my fretting hand, which is important since the older I get the more pain I feel when I play.
Also helps avoid playing too sharp.
 

Greg2222

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Jan 6, 2017
Posts
32
Location
Brooklyn, NY
I don't drink alcohol or do drugs and I bathe everyday, so that eliminates a lot of potential damage. Plus nitro finish vs poly.

Yeah I figured it had to be poly - nitro will wear a lot more than that no matter how careful you are . . .you would probably be in Rory Gallagher territory by now with the amount of playing you do no matter how many baths you take
 

kingvox

Tele-Meister
Joined
Mar 23, 2017
Posts
320
Location
CT, USA
I gotta raise my prices! Man. Last SS refret I did for someone I charged $200, and the last EVO on a bound neck with nipped tangs I did for $220.

Anyway, recently did a SS refret using .110 x .057 wire on one of my Strats. I have 4 other guitars I fretted with EVO over 6 years ago, and have only had to level a couple thousandths on one of them.

However, I use extra light strings, and have a very, very light touch. Even though I constantly bend and use a pretty wide vibrato all the time, and it's a major part of my playing -- very little wear, even on the EVO.

I've heard some people argue that EVO may even be more resistant than stainless, due to galling, or something. Or resistance to galling. Something like that. Been too busy to look into that but I will say my EVO frets have held up well on all my guitars for many years.

I absolutely love SS. It's hard to tell how much more slippery it feels than EVO when polished, but it is *awesome!* I absolutely love it, being a big bend/vibrato player myself. It's heaven.

I've only ever used EVO on my own personal guitars. I will say stainless is harder to work. I invested in a pair of 7" Starrett piano wire cutters, which make a big difference. And I made my own tang crimpers out of some Channellock end nippers. The Stewmac ones can crimp the tangs but it takes a tremendous amount of force. The Channellocks much less so.

The SS also seems to like eating through files. After just two refrets, my Gurian Quarter Round file is feeling a bit worn out. For leveling I use beams and sandpaper so that's not an issue, and my end nippers seem fine...used a flush ground pair of Channellock 357's -- and I mean as flush ground as possible to a near razor edge -- and surprisingly they've sustained absolutely zero chips.

But the end dressing files seem to take a bit of a beating. For crowning I use a Summit Tools triangular file for stainless steel frets. Very hard, very nice file. The diamond crowning files will take a year to do a single fret when you're leveling a lot. Stainless is very hard and the Summit file makes much quicker work of crowning.

For polishing...I use Fret Erasers. 400, 800, 1200, 2000, 4000, 8000 grit. I skip the 220 as I level the frets with 320 grit paper. They come out like butter.

Been loving mine so far! Really breathed new life into my Strat.
 

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rogerio_prazere

TDPRI Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2009
Posts
4
Location
Brazil
Something to remember about SS is they are hard to bend and need some specific technique to be correct installed and dressed, so some luthiers that never tried then can mess up in the process.
 

srolfeca

Tele-Meister
Joined
Jan 31, 2011
Posts
452
Location
London, Ontario, Canada
I have a very light touch, and I'm not a huge bender.

Also, my first instrument is bass, so my guitars don't get as much wear as you'd expect.

Regardless, I really enjoyed the glued on SS frets on a Parker Nitefly that I played in the early 2000's, so just out of curiosity, I specified SS frets on a neck I bought from Best Guitar Parts.

The surcharge for SS at BGP is very reasonable, at only $35!

Their fretwork is excellent, compared to the usual sources. I barely had to touch them in terms of levelling and crowning. The only drawback to the harder material, was that dressing the fret ends took a little longer than normal.

That neck was for my Thinline tele, and the guitar soon become my #1, replacing a very nice PRS McCarty. I deliberately ordered the tele neck with the intention of making it feel as much like the wide/fat McCarty carve as possible- 12" radius, medium jumbo frets, chunky 50's neck carve, etc., but took it a step further by specifying 1 3/4" wide at the nut.

I love both the sound of that guitar, and the feel the BGP neck, but it's hard to say how much the stainless frets contribute to that.

I definitely don't hear anything brittle or harsh about them, but once again I have a pretty smooth, gentle attack...
 

theleman

Tele-Meister
Joined
Sep 11, 2017
Posts
320
Location
Mars
My other hobby was tool making and forging and welding. I studied different types of metals for their strength, and stainless steel supposed to be soft metal, not much different from brass or copper.
I am surprised to hear that SS frets last longer than brass frets. They will definitely be more resistant to rusting, but even so, all metals do rust in extreme damp conditions and ageing.
 




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